It’s normal to have a lot of questions about Therapeutic Foster Care and therapeutic foster parenting, like “How does the whole process work? When will training be offered—will I have to take off work? What if I don’t own my home? What type of kids may be placed in my home?
We want you to ask these and any other questions you might have so you are fully informed and comfortable in making the important and generous choice to become a therapeutic foster parent. You can call us anytime to learn more about the challenges and rewards of being a therapeutic foster parent and how you can change a lifetime or a child in need!
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions by those considering becoming a therapeutic foster parent:
What is foster care?
Foster care is temporary care for children and youth who have been removed from their family either voluntarily or involuntarily. Reasons for the removal might include abuse, neglect, or the family’s inability to care for the child or youth. The primary goal of foster care is to reunify the child or youth with his or her family. This typically means that the child or youth’s family has to make some positive changes to ensure that the child or youth can return to a safe and stable home. Foster parents are critical in helping a child in foster care to be successful. They provide a caring, safe, and stable family environment for a child or group of siblings during their time in out-of-home care.
What is “therapeutic” foster care?
Therapeutic foster care comes into play for youth who have experienced extreme trauma, abuse or neglect and require specialized treatment programs and counseling. Youth in need of therapeutic care often exhibit challenging emotional and/or behavioral problems or they may have developmental delays or some type of medical condition that requires special care. This may sound scary and a bit overwhelming, but rest assured that SCYAP’s experienced staff will be there to ensure you are prepared and able to provide the care and support youth with complex issues and needs.
What is the difference between a regular foster parent and a therapeutic foster parent?
Therapeutic foster parents receive intensive training prior to becoming licensed and throughout their tenure as therapeutic foster parents so that they can meet the needs of youth with complex needs and who require a higher level of supervision, structure and support than those served through regular or "traditional" foster care. In Therapeutic Foster Care, SCYAP assigns a caseworker (we call them Treatment Coordinators) to each therapeutic foster parent to provide support, guidance and training and to assist with the case management needs of the youth. Therapeutic foster parents become part of the youth's treatment team and provide treatment services/interventions (such as skill building) to the youth. Because the needs of the youth in therapeutic foster care are greater and the expectations of the therapeutic foster parent is higher than those in traditional or "regular" foster care, the reimbursement to therapeutic foster parents is also higher than traditional or "regular" foster care.
Can I have more than 1 child in my home?
The answer to this question depends on your home (the number of bedrooms and the sleeping arrangements in your home), the needs of each foster child and a good match being made between foster children, and approval from the agency that refers the foster child to us for services. Typically, no more than 2 youth receiving therapeutic foster care are placed in a home but some need to be in a home with no other children receiving therapeutic services. The exception to this rule is a sibling group.
Will I be financially responsible for the youth in my care?
Yes, you will be expected to provide basic necessities to the child(ren) placed in your home, however, we will assist you in covering some of these expenses. SCYAP therapeutic foster families receive a tax-free reimbursement to cover the needs and basic expenses of caring for each youth placed in their home. Payments are made twice monthly via direct deposit and are based on the severity of the youth’s needs and the number of days the youth was placed in the therapeutic foster parent’s care. Because the needs of the youth in thereapeutic foster care are greater and the expectations of the therapeutic foster parent is higher than those in traditional or "regular" foster care, the reimbursement to therapeutic foster parents is also higher than traditional or "regular" foster care.
Will I have to be involved with the youth’s family?
Remember, foster care is meant to be temporary, and in most cases the goal is for the youth to return to his or her family. Therapeutic foster parents can encourage the child’s connection with his or her family by assisting with visitation, setting up telephone calls, facilitating letter writing or card sending, passing along pictures of the child to the family, etc. The foster family, SCYAP staff, the youth’s family, the child welfare agency, and sometimes the Family Court, all work together to determine how much interaction and involvement there should be between the child and his or her family. We will ensure that visits take place in a manner that is safe and as comfortable as possible for everyone.
Will I receive training?
ABSOLUTELY! We will thoroughly prepare you for caring for a foster child before any placement is made and ongoing training will be offered monthly and as needed. We provide training sessions at times that are convenient to our families. All SCYAP therapeutic foster parents also have access to support groups made up of other SCYAP foster parents. In addition, we have 24-hour per day support available to all of our families. You are never alone!
Can therapeutic foster care turn into an adoption?
If the decision is made that a child in foster care cannot not return home, the youth will need to remain in foster care until he or she is adopted or placed in the care of a relative. There are times when therapeutic foster parents adopt the foster child placed in their home, but being a therapeutic foster parent does not guarantee adoption. The ability to adopt a foster child depends on that child’s permanency plan.
Therapeutic Foster Care Services
Medically Fragile Services
Short-Term TFC Services
Short-Term Alternative Placements (STAP)
Community Training Homes
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